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The Holy Land of War & Peace

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The divisions between Israel and Palestine are very real and badly intentioned. It seeks to keep out a people who supposedly have no rights to land that are for “God’s chosen people”, this in itself is a human rights problem because Palestinians are banned from from entering certain parts of the country while Jewish settlements are being built around them. Those that climb over the wall really do pay with their life with little to no threat to the Israelis. The war in Gaza still rages but the West Bank is peacefully quiet and many hope that it doesn’t spread. The moving of the US Embassy to Jerusalem by the Trump Administration did absolutely nothing to achieve peace. Parts of the Middle East along with the US government are coming together to make deals that Palestinians fear are not in their favor, they are the illegitimate child that no one wants and they don’t know why. The cries of the Palestinian people are painted on the wall including images that made the artist Banksy famous, but they all say the same thing, why can’t we have peace?

Women in Bethlehem have been discouraged from involving themselves in the politics of the struggle and now focus on preserving their culture. I met a women who owns one of the biggest Palestinian cultural shops in Bethlehem, she used to fight for the Palestinian cause but became tired and angered by the politics of it and decided to leave. For her human rights is not something that can be achieved in this lifetime so she has decided to preserve her culture so people do not forget. As soon as you walk into her shop on the right side the walls are decorated with photos of her and Mahmoud Abbass, Yassar Arafat, religious leaders and other important people in government. These are memories of a time that has passed with no resolution for peace in sight. Letting people know that this land belongs to her people and their rich history and past is now her passion. This is Bethlehem, the Holy Land, a place that has suffered from so much conflict that it’s wounds are still open. Before the current leadership there was peace and Israelis did not think Palestine was a problem until a government they’ve never known told them that it is and their lives will always be in danger as long as it exists. It has brainwashed most of the world and has made unlikely friends to support their cause. The idea of the total annihilation of Palestinians should scare anyone-including Israelis. It’s no wonder they are obsessed with preserving their heritage.

There are still women in various parts of the country that have not given up the fight, especially those that live in the middle of it all. But just like every conflict there are always dire consequences for the women.

Women’s organizations in Palestine are not always fully functional, unless you are getting a big grant from the UN to do human rights work, you must be creative in finding the right funders that will support a program that can change women’s lives in a different way. Most of them work on giving women and young girls a higher standing in society through education and skills. These organizations are more community based because that’s where the money is for them. It’s not that easy to take on the rights of the Palestinian women on a bigger scale. So much has been cut off from them, even others outside who want to support their cause and their projects are restricted. This doesn’t mean good things aren’t happening. I met with organizations that are encouraging women who were child brides to go back to school and finish their education, and their husbands approve. This is great progress in the movement to bring women out of a controlling or abusive situation and to a place where they can feel that they are in control of their lives. Women are contributing to their families income and saving money for themselves. This can mostly be achieved when you involve both men and women to change things within the framework of the culture and religion.

The main objective is to give them independence and sustainability not only for themselves but for their families. As many studies have shown, when women are lifted up and empowered to study or be part of the work force, the whole society benefits. Of course that doesn’t wipe out abuse or violence in the home but it’s a good start.

We are a part of this fight for the Palestinian women because we should be. Women’s rights can be taken away with a stroke of a pen, a change in laws or war, just because you don’t experience it doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

 

 

BeaSister2aSister is a 501(c)3 non profit organization. We work with survivors of Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence, Exploitation & Abuse to live a life free of interdependence while being able to sustain themselves and find true freedom. If you would like to support our work and be a life changing support for a survivor please visit our website: http://www.beasister2asister.org click on give today and make a one time or monthly donation. We welcome and value your support!

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Samantha Inesta

Founder/Executive Director

BeaSister2aSister

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children, Jesus & Jeff Sessions

These are dark days for a country that has professed themselves as a “Shinning City on a Hill”. Over the past few weeks all of social media has been flooded with images of children being locked up in what looks like to be glorified dog cages as if they are dangerous wild animals ready to strike any innocent passer by who dare look in their direction. When has it become a policy to demonize children to get a clear immigration laws passed? This back and forth blame game with no way out is just exacerbating what is already a horrific human rights atrocity. When audio released by ProPublica hit social media it was a firestorm of emotions for many people who wanted to know what was REALLY going on, and even then we don’t know the whole story. Parents arrested, separated from their children not knowing if they will ever see them again or what will happen to them.  To add insult to injury, a border agent is heard, in Spanish, mocking the children crying for their mami and papi in the audio put out there by ProPublica. The consolation by another agent telling a child that if they have their aunt’s phone number they will help the child call her doesn’t really invoke a warm fuzzy feeling either.

As someone who works with women, some from these countries that the Trump administration has deemed “Dangerous”, I can tell you there is a real and credible fear that these women have who have suffered domestic violence and human trafficking. Yes they have children and some have children that they had to leave behind because it was impossible to take them in light of their abusive situation. The first thing they will ask is can I bring them here. They are scared for their life and for the life of their child back home. This brings me to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his tone-deaf representation of the Bible and human rights. For starters, the Apostle Paul respected women and cited them in his work frequently.  But it’s not surprising that Sessions took Paul’s words out of context, many white male Christians, especially those who use the Bible for their own fleshly desires, have been doing it for decades. Women being silent in the church because they were not formally educated in the Bible during those times turned into women not having a place at all in the church except to being submissive to men. When in reality Paul was encouraging them to wait until after the service to inquire about what was said. Even Jesus’ followers asked him questions. So this is why Jeff Sessions need to justify separating children from their families at the border falls flat. Here is one Apostle and passage, which quotes Jesus, that AG Sessions conveniently forgot:

Matthew 18:6

“If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in me – to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone tied around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

That should be very sobering for someone who claims to worship Jesus and think that this is an actual “What would Jesus do?” moment. But apparently it isn’t.

Maybe domestic violence and human trafficking need to be explained to Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration, because if these parents are seeking asylum but at the same time “Trafficking” their children, why then would they go directly to a border patrol officer asking for help? This is a senseless excuse that feeds the fear this government has been sewing into the culturally ignorant populations of America. We have seen people come into this country with a credible fear for their life but then sent back to die, literally, because they themselves are assumed to be criminals, murders and rapists. Women however are a different story. They are presumed to be liars, putting their children in harms way, making them a scapegoat and the list goes on. But again, why should we be surprised by that? Women in the United States who are victims of  domestic violence or human trafficking or both do not receive a warm welcome from the judicial system by way of safety and security. They have a hard time getting a job, renting and apartment or just being able to support themselves and their children. But are they separated from their children? At times, yes. Women who have suffered domestic abuse tearfully watch a judge grant their abusive husband custody of the children based on the lies he’s told about her. Sometimes she is not even granted visitation rights because her ex has convinced the court that she is a danger to her children. I’m almost positive you will hear them crying for mommy at that point.

 

To add insult to injury you have people from the Trump administration to DHS talking about how heartbroken they are about the children and how they want to fix it but…….The bottom line is this, the immoral and dehumanizing treatment of these children did not come from the Bible, it came from a poorly executed policy with extreme racist undertones. The Apostle Paul would not condone this and neither would Jesus. The Bible was written to open people hearts to love and respect one another not to persecute and criminalize people who are looking for refuge. As far as children go I will let the man himself tell you.

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”- Jesus

 

W.A.R. is a blog that is part of BeaSister2aSister.org a 501(c)3 non profit that has a sustainable program for survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, exploitation & abuse globally. We are dedicated to helping survivors become independent & achieve sustainability.

If  you would like to know more or give to help us put survivors on a path of self sustainability please visit: http://www,beasister2asister.org to donate click on give today and follow the PayPal link.  Thank you for supporting us!

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Samantha Inesta

Founder/Executive Director

BeaSister2aSister

 

 

CUNY JOURNALISM SCHOOL RECEIVES $20 MILLION DONATION FROM ONLINE AD SERVICE THAT PROMOTES SEX TRAFFICKING -CRAIGSLIST

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Journalism is a noble profession, men and women seeking the truth from politics, to the economy to  world affairs and human rights. A good journalist will see the inequity in any situation and call out wrong doing and criminal activity within governments and societies. Which is why this is so upsetting. On June 11, 2018 the New York Times reported that Craigslist founder Craig Newmark has donated $20 million to CUNY Graduate Journalism School while having it renamed to “Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York”. This is a huge contradiction compared to the backlash that Craigslist has incurred over the years regarding proven accusations of online sex trafficking ads that included a forum for sex buyers to rate and humiliation women and young girls.

This is not the first time that journalistic entities have accepted donations from Mr. Newmark. According to the New York Times Mr. Newmark gave $1 million to ProPublica, $500,000 to Columbia Journalism, $1 million to Data and Society ( A research Institute) and $560,000 to the International Center for Journalists.  In 2016 He donated $10,000 for the CUNY election coverage and on February 2017 he donated $1.5 million for a research grant which led CUNY to raise $14 million. The Craigslist founder as well as CUNY must be suffering from amnesia because  it’s almost as if those online ads never existed and Craigslist always operated with the utmost integrity.  I have worked on a campaign that called on Craigslist to shut down these forums that literally propagated sex trafficking. The online chat rooms where men where able to talk about their experiences with young girls were horrifying. One man spoke about how he paid for an extremely young girl who was cowering in the corner and crying. He began to explain how he had to coerce her out of the corner and after that she was “Fine”. He went on to give other men tips on what to do in a similar situation. And that’s was the most benign post on there.

The tone deaf and demeaning decision to accept a $20 million dollar donation from the founder of Craigslist just goes to show how academic organizations care little about doing what’s right. If you are a graduate journalism school you should be teaching young journalists about speaking truth to power, not power to truth which in this case there are a lot of lies surround this decision. Craig Newmark was FORCED to cooperate with the FBI to shut down the personal ads, this was not him trying to be a hero.  Let’s be clear about that, although he does try and come across as a champion of the Free Press.

He’s quoted in the New York Times as stating the following:

“Sometimes rich people want to do fancy stuff in terms of endowments: Ivy League schools, the opera, the ballet,” Mr. Newmark said. “Me? I want to help out people who, much like me, really needed a hand. If you’re lucky enough to do well, then I feel the right thing is to give people a hand, and the best way for me to do that is to help out journalism.”

This move by CUNY Graduate School of Journalism is a slap in the face to all female journalists who deal with sexual harassment and assault within the industry. This sends a clear message that the institution that educated them cares nothing for their well being or the fact that funding comes from an entity that has promoted sex trafficking. Journalism schools must do better to protect the truth and and always look to the facts, not acquiesce to the allure of rich men’s money. In a very insightful yet draw your own conclusion article written by Maxwell Strachan from HUFFPOST, Sarah Barlett is quoted as saying about the critical reaction surrounding this decision that the school “hadn’t necessarily interpreted all the subtleties” of it and that many of the concerns revolve around issues that are “not primary” or are “very old.” Meaning that it was a long time ago, it’s done, now move on.  So I guess if she’s okay with it, we should all be.

 

There is no doubt that the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism will experience some if not a lot of backlash. Only time will tell. However, in this #Metoo climate I hardly think this will go away quietly. CUNY may have rationalized this to make it seem innocent and good for journalism but in fact it is a dark day when young journalists are told to look the other way when human atrocities are paying their tuition.

 

If  you would like to know more or give to help us put survivors on a path of self sustainability please visit: http://www,beasister2asister.org to donate.

Thank you for supporting us!

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Samantha Inesta

Founder/Executive Director

 

The Wrongful Arrest of Human Trafficking Survivors

 

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It is common knowledge that the human trafficking is a $150 billion industry, at least it should be something everyone is educated on. A large number of women and girls make up a big percentage of those that are victimized, but why are they being re-victimized by the justice system? When a tip comes into Vice about a trafficking ring or a smaller scale trafficking situation the first action that is employed is to arrest the victims. The reasoning behind this method is that it’s the only way to get the girls to safety. It will also give them something they don’t want or need-a record.

Not only are these sting operations traumatizing, but then to add salt to the wound by being arrested and processed. This does not make you feel as though you’ve been brought to safety. It is only after that, that they are found to be victims and therefore are referred to services. Being set free from modern day slavery comes with a price that will stay with you until it can be removed, and that’s a big IF. There is so much that needs to be dealt with on the surface that the thought of having to wrestle with a criminal record is extremely stressful. Being able to reclaim your life back as someone who is not considered a threat to society is not that easy. This has a lot of disastrous consequences when moving forward to a fresh start. Having a record keeps a survivor from accessing basic resources like employment and housing which is crucial in becoming independent and being able to sustain themselves.

imagesThe OVC (Office for Victims of Crime) has recently announced a disturbing language removal in their FY2018 funding cycle. Any pro-bono legal agency seeking funding for vacatures or expungements of a client’s record will not receive OVC funding. This obstructs a survivor’s ability to gain legal council to have unjustified criminal charges removed. Many agencies all across the United States are in jeopardy of losing the financial support to vacate or expunge their client’s record. Without being able to take these cases, pro-bono lawyers are crippled to help a survivor regain their life back wholly.  This puts them at the mercy of a system that is designed to keep them helpless, interdependent and always looking for a handout just to stay alive. These unhealthy and destabilizing tactics used by the DOJ supports a cycle of continued abuse directed at the survivor on all sides.

This makes it hard for those of us who are working to give survivors better choices with more options. This decision closes a lot of doors of opportunity for women and young women to start over. As someone who helps them to be independent and gives them the tools to sustain themselves this language removal makes my work that much more difficult. Employers and landlords sometimes do criminal background checks and sometimes things just “Pop up”. The other reality is the fact that shelters cannot hold all of these women and are only temporary. Agencies and pro-bono lawyers have already taken to social media and have set up online letters decrying this change. You have to fight human trafficking on all fronts not just the ones you feel comfortable supporting.

 

W.A.R. is a blog that is part of BeaSister2aSister.org a 501(c)3 non profit that has a sustainable program for survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, exploitation & abuse globally. We are dedicated to helping survivors become independent & not interdependent.

If  you would like to know more or give to help us put survivors on a path of self sustainability please visit: http://www,beasister2asister.org to donate click on give today and follow the PayPal link.  Thank you for supporting us!

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Samantha Inesta

Founder/Executive Director

BeaSister2aSister

 

Why are Children Collateral Damage in Rape Laws?

We always talk about consent and how if there is none then it’s sexual assault or rape. But when we talk about children and consent, that’s where things get tangled and knotted. When a child is labeled as a “Child Prostitute” without even knowing that’s what they are, is there consent there? Children are vulnerable, impressionable and can be naive at times but to suggest that they would consent to being a prostitute or even being raped is absurd. So why are there laws supporting the right for an adult (mostly male) to have sex with a child? The legal age of consent in most states is either 16 or 18 years of age. There are laws on the books in most states that require consent but in Georgia, where the age of consent is 16, if there is no consent it is not deemed rape. This is because the testimony of the victim is not believed without supporting evidence.  A lot of these charges vary with ridiculous exceptions like in Idaho if the female is under 16 any sexual conduct is considered lewd conduct with no consent from the child.

Washington Law looks at child rape in degrees of three. First degree rape is a Class A felony when the child is under the age of 12 and the defendant is 2 years older. This carries a maximum sentence with a possibility of life imprisonment. Second degree rape is also a Class A felony with the child being 12 or 13 and the defendant is 2 years older. Third degree rape is where the child is 14 or 15 and the defendant is at least 4 years older. This is a Class C felony with maximum 5 years in prison. It seems the older the child gets the more it’s less of a crime on the part of the male. What’s interesting is they are willing to send a 14 or 15 year old male to prison for life but an 18 or 19 year old gets 5 years maximum. Is it possible the some sort of coercion on the part of the older male could’ve taken place. Basically talking her into it, making promises and reassuring her that it’s okay and normal? When a young girl “thinks” she’s in love whether she communicates it or not an older man, who is of the age of consent, should know enough not to take advantage of her emotional state at the moment. Teenagers change their mind like they change their fashion, one minute they’re totally into something and the next minute they’ve moved on. It’s all very murky with not much justice attached.

In France a bill that was originally designed to protect children from rape has been revised to give more justice to the rapist. Article 2 in this revised bill is the cause of much outrage with those who work with youth, including myself. In France it’s illegal for an adult to engage in sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 15 but it isn’t considered rape. The revision of Article 2 calls for not qualifying sex with someone under the age of 15 rape. This revision was called upon by French psychologists, social workers, doctors, lawyers and celebrities. Yes, you read that right. They even got together and wrote to Emmanuel Macron urging him to make this revision. Some may not be so surprised by celebrities but the people that work with these young children who are so severely damaged and traumatized by this is more enraging. Their reasoning for this is because they don’t want to see highly publicized cases in the media of men in their 20s having sex with 11 year old children. So punishing the child is the way to go. This opens up so much of a Pandora’s box it’s mind boggling. This makes me think of the countless young girls being gang raped in India with absolutely no justice given to the crime. Even flooding the streets with protesters doesn’t help. This is a place where lawyers are given prison time for speaking up on behalf of the victim and her family. Men in India do this with impunity and little to no punishment.

Why do we do this to children? How do we expect there to be future generations when this is what society thinks of trusting young girls and boys? As time goes on it will be hard pressed to find a child that has not experienced rape or sexual assault in some form. How will they deal with it knowing that they may not be protected by their government whose job it is to do just that? The bigger question is how to they move on and away from their trauma? If there are people out there fighting to make it okay for adults to have sex with children then we will see more broken and traumatized future generations incapable of functioning normally. Do we need to create a #MeToo for kids? Maybe then the government will listen.

 

W.A.R. is a blog that is part of BeaSister2aSister.org a 501(c)3 non profit that has a sustainable program for survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, exploitation & abuse globally. We are dedicated to helping survivors become independent & not interdependent.

If  you would like to know more or give to help us put survivors on a path of self sustainability please visit: http://www,beasister2asister.org to donate click on give today and follow the PayPal link.  Thank you for supporting us!

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Samantha Inesta

Founder/Executive Director

BeaSister2aSister

The Rise & Fall & Rise again Of Domestic Violence

Everywhere you turn now there is another story of a woman being beaten, raped and assaulted. The latest headline is District Attorney Eric Schneiderman physically abusing 4 women one of whom was the recipient of a open handed slap that left her totally disoriented and fighting to defend herself. The story ends like most, Schneiderman’s actions led to his forced resignation by those around him, including the Governor of New York. So now we have another man in power who has deceived many into thinking he was for feminism, against violence and male domination over the rights of all women. Well, if that’s not an open handed slap to the face leaving us disoriented, I don’t know what is.

The issue of domestic violence was something that most women didn’t really talk about too much because of the shame, stigma and the system that always worked against them. Women suffered in silence and fear then domestic violence was hushed, not taken seriously and forced countless women into hiding. The #MeToo movement has putdomestic violence back in the spotlight and gave many women all over the world the courage to come out of hiding and say me too.  These stories are shooting out into the media like a machine gun and all the bullets hit the target. The backlash has heads shaking and spinning wondering how we got to this place. We were always in this place. I don’t think society fully comprehends the consistent cover up by so many men to keep their reputation in tact as a good guy that respects women. Schneiderman had everyone fooled, including the National Organization For Women-NYC chapter who always supported him. He marched for women’s rights alongside them, gave powerful speeches regarding empowerment and equality, and now this.

Are we too trusting? No. We want so much to believe that there are men out there who will stand by us, treat us with respect and humanity but we seemed to be failed a lot lately. I believe there is hope, we’re just looking for it in the wrong places. If we think that men with worldly power are capable of treating women with love and compassion allowing them to reach their full potential, then we’re kidding ourselves. No, the men that will stand with us are closer than we think. They may not hold powerful positions but they don’t need to. Consider the men that were raised by strong women who taught their sons to be real men, showed them that women are human, strong and deserve the same chances and opportunities. But most of all the lesson that it is NEVER okay to hit, rape or sexually assault a woman. These men are out there. And the best thing about them is they are raising sons the way their mother raised them. They are the allies, the partners that will stand with us. So let’s stop looking to entertainment, sports and politics for our allies, they will let us down every time.

 

Domestic violence hits home literally for every woman that is caught in it. This is not something that should ever hide in the shadows and force it’s victims into total silence. There are so many components that have done women wrong and sent their abuser away with a slap on the wrist. The physical bruises may heal but the mental scars never do. People arguing in the street, a family having a shouting match in the apartment below that could escalate are all triggers that will re-open those scars. I’m happy Eric Schneiderman stepped down, but that’s not enough.

 

W.A.R. is a blog that is part of BeaSister2aSister.org a 501(c)3 non profit that has a sustainable program for survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, exploitation & abuse globally. We are dedicated to helping survivors become independent & not interdependent.

If  you would like to know more or give to help us put survivors on a path of self sustainability please visit: http://www,beasister2asister.org to donate click on give today and follow the PayPal link.  Thank you for supporting us!

 

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Samantha Inesta

Founder/Executive Director

BeaSister2aSister

Women Are At The Center Of It All

This is really shaping up to be the year of the woman or possibly the decade. Women’s voices have been amplified more than ever, commanding attention and not asking for permission. Anger, rage and unapologetic emotion have lined social media and pop culture. It’s a whiplash frenzy of female voices screaming for rights, existence and the end of the patriarchy. The boiled over pot has been on the stove way too long and the scorching heat needs a place to cool before it consumes the whole kitchen. Decades long of women fighting for everything under the sun always getting push back from the male establishment who don’t consider women to really be a part of society, just something to make them feel good once in a while. Well, those days are long gone.

We have entered into an era of not only US women fighting but women all over the world. One glorious outcry a combined solidarity movement that has governments across the globe scrambling to appease or disburse the women. What we take for granted in the US is met with imprisonment and possibly death in other countries. Interestingly enough we are not that much different in the war that we fight. What we really all want  is freedom. Now I know that women in the United States would say they are already free and yes they’re right-partially.  Consider all the hurdles and stigmas that women must go through just to have a place in society. There was a time when a woman’s existence was identified through her husband. She would even had to ask his permission for everything, even to get a job and voting was an entirely different issue. Of course a lot of that has changed but it was a slow going process. Now women are employed in many fields even doing some jobs that are usually reserved for men. Yes that’s progress, but at what cost? Women endure mountains of sexual harassment and assault, unequal pay and little access to a promotion. Women owning homes on their own isn’t an easy task, just like taking your car to the mechanic you must take a “male chaperon” so you won’t get taken advantage of. Women doing anything on their own without a husband is still frowned upon in most cases.

Women who have suffered severe domestic violence and are now ready to move forward face discriminatory practices by the court system, landlords and employers reminding them that this stigma will never go away because you are marked. So many laws designed to protect survivors of domestic violence but no one wants to treat them as human. Some new gun control laws center around men who abuse their wives forcing them to relinquish their weapons upon realization they are a domestic abuser but when that same wife is in the courts pleading for her life, silence. That is the reality. It may sound familiar because these stories are coming out of other countries across the globe. Single mothers are not having fun either. With recent cuts to programs that help them stay afloat many become homeless and those that find work struggle to the point of hopelessness. The list is too long. We have been getting a lot of attention though some good, some bad but at least we are opening a badly needed conversation.

We hope, we pray for a paradigm shift that will work in our favor something that will put us on equal footing so we all have a fighting chance in the world given to us. This is why we march, protest, write, blog, advocate and rage. It shouldn’t always be a fight to move up in our careers, own a business, buy a home, work in a field that is mostly dominated by men and if it is we should be treated with respect and not like a blow-up doll. As it is we get condescended to by doctors, lawyers, contractors etc. This is not rocket science I know this because I have seen men treat women with respect and value them so I know it can be done. Just don’t be that guy that jumps on the bandwagon because he wants to cover up his own indiscretions by blaming other men. We can see through that lie very quickly. Change will not come easily or fast so until then, women will be in the center of it all until we get what we’ve been fighting for for decades. Freedom.

 

 

W.A.R. is a blog that is part of BeaSister2aSister.org a 501(c)3 non profit that has a sustainable program for survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, exploitation & abuse globally. We are dedicated to helping survivors become independent & not interdependent.

If  you would like to know more or give to help us put survivors on a path of self sustainability please visit: http://www,beasister2asister.org to donate click on give today and follow the PayPal link.  Thank you for supporting us!

 

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Samantha Inesta

Founder/Executive Director

BeaSister2aSister

Sex Work Over Sex Trafficking

So there is a lot of misinformation, confusion and fake news if you will when it comes to sex work and sex trafficking. The 2 sides have been at each other’s throats for a long time and the war hasn’t ended. Much research is being done in universities and by psychologists who want to break into the field of supporting those who they feel have a right to making money in this way while diminishing the fact that more women are trafficked than those that engage in sex work. This has caused a myriad of mudslinging, name calling and out and out screaming matches. It also pits real survivors of sex trafficking against basically, everyone. This type of research suggests that there is no such thing as sex trafficking and that all women and girls are going into it willingly and why do we need all this legislation to stop it when no one is being trafficked? It’s dangerous research that needs to be put into context.

First off, women who do engage in sex work do it because of a circumstance that has left them with no other options. For example: Economic instability, past sexual abuse by a family member, forced sexual exploitation at a young age by adults and a bad drug addiction are some of the reasons why women do this work. Here an example that’s NOT a reason why they engage in sex work: because they want to and they love having sex with many different men, they enjoy it. Nowhere on this earth has this ever been a reason. Now, there are people out there that want to help them stay in this cycle. The first group are the activists that believe there is nothing wrong with allowing women to engage in sex work as a real job instead of offering them skills and better options. They buy into the narrative that they do enjoy it and it’s their body they can do with it whatever they want. What they also do is advocate for safer and cleaner working environments as well as access to health insurance benefits just like a real place of employment.

I do wonder though if their daughter approached them and said they didn’t want to go to school, they would rather sell sex for money, would they feel the same way? Food for thought.

The second group is the men that want these women around so they can do basically whatever they please to them. The have voided out the fact that they are  human and have told themselves that she’s “different” and not a real woman that has feelings, a mind and will talk back. She will stroke his ego, tell him what he wants to hear and perform for him any sexual perversion he asks for because if she doesn’t, she’ll pay the price. That’s the reality of sex work a reality that is not told.

Sex trafficking survivors are having a hard time with this narrative because more people are apt to believe the sex work scenario than the force, fraud and coercion definition of trafficking. All of this gets very muddied and clouded, one cannot make a clear judgement or conclusion. Victims of sex trafficking are just that-victims, women who engage in sex work are victims too but in a different way, they are willing victims. A willing victim is someone who enters into criminal or immoral behavior to either fill an immediate financial need in their life or because of past abuses and psychological damage that left them with little to no options in life. And of course drug addiction. A victim of sex trafficking is someone who has experienced force, fraud or coercion as the UN definition states because it is a global problem.

I understand that the issue of trafficking has become a hot issue and everybody wants to be involved but, facts first. You cannot just get one side of the story, don’t just talk to sex workers and then proclaim that you’re an expert in sex trafficking. That will make you hugely unpopular. That argument disproportionately skews the information on whose an actual trafficking victim and who has willingly went into the sex trade. This type of advocacy makes it harder for law enforcement and organizations that help and support victims to recognize who they are. We want to give women better options not support them in something that will make them a stigma on society or bring them to an early death. I have worked with countless survivors and none of them advocate for sex work or are on the same side as those advocating for it.

If you don’t know the difference between sex work and sex trafficking or victim and willing victim or even survivor then before you do anything, get the facts on BOTH sides. Present your findings that include the voices of these women, their experiences, their fears, their life. Also some women are not going to be forth coming with the truth because of shame and fear, so know that not all of the information will be accurate. And most importantly DO NOT inject your opinion or thoughts or beliefs into your research. This is not about you or your feelings, this is about telling the truth and representing both sides fairly and accurately. Let’s end this war.

 

BeaSister2aSister is a 501(c)3 non profit that helps survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, abuse and exploitation become self sustainable and have a dependent free life. If you would like to learn more please email us at: info@beasister2asister.org. If you would like to donate or be a monthly donor please visit our website at: http://www.beasister2asister.org. Your support is greatly appreciated!

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Samantha Inesta

Founder/Executive Director

BeaSister2aSister

 

 

 

 

 

 

CSW & March Madness

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It’s that time of year again, the 62nd annual Commission on the Status of Women. A month long event of global women leaders, NGOs, Non Profits and delegations coming together to talk about how we can basically come up with sustainable solutions for women and girls all over the world. Discussions range from poverty and education to ending all forms of violence against women and girls, which is what sustainable goal 5.2 claims to do. CSW is the red carpet of the humanitarian world. All of the top NGO and NGO leaders are met by doting UN staff who cater to their every need. The events taking place inside the UN is where a lot of people assume the action is at. I can assure you the same actions that are happening at side events in adjacent UN buildings is the same action that’s taking place inside the UN-just talking. Being in the UN during CSW can be a networking heaven for some people but the reality is if you are not well known internationally or have worked with any UN programme you can rest assured that no one will contact you. This is the top elite circle of human rights and if they’ve given you the privilege to be inside, then be grateful because that’s all it is.

UN Women lead most events in the UN that focus on the betterment of women and girls, but the conversation is the same every year. Global girl leaders, survivors and celebrities are paraded on panel discussions to just get recognition, publicity and fame for the not yet famous. There seems to be a certain change that happens to someone when they are asked to speak on a panel at the UN. It’s as if they no longer need to communicate with people they had previously regarded as colleagues and even friends. They have left one circle for what they feel is a more higher power that will take them to where they want to be. So once they have been placed on that high seat, they are now ready to talk about sustainable goals for other women and girls because now they have the power to do so. They talk about violence, child marriage, FGM, human trafficking and so forth but not one solution is made, nothing that is truly sustainable. The SDGs are getting higher every year with not much to show for it. They just think of clever ways to reword things so they sound new.  Attendees of these panels are usually well to do women who probably won’t do anything but they’re great seat fillers. They rest are UN staff, NGO and non profits workers who are there to support a panel participant. The UN has created for itself a community of highly affluent, rich and what they say are well reputed NGOs that have the means to pay for these full room events leaving out struggling non profits from having a seat at the table.

I wonder just how sustainable the UN SDGs really are. When we talk about sustainability we realize that whatever the solution is, it has to last for the duration of time. It’s always good to have goals but at some point those goals must be met, not by just talking about it and adding on to something that wasn’t really achieved in the first place. Being sustainable is a step by step process that takes time and needs a lot of support. One of the ways that sustainability can be supported is by collaboration of organizations and resources. But when you are competing for funding, seats in the UN and full on media attention, it’s difficult to achieve. Being in the spotlight is not going to changes the horrors that so many women and girls face all around the world including the United States. Parading a celebrity around does not represent every woman, just Hollywood. Local and grassroots organization that are not seeking the spotlight know exactly what women and girls need and they do more than just talk about it-they do something about it.

This is a conversation that needs to happen more often, the de-funding of local and grassroots organizations. Badly needed funds are flowing in the wrong direction. It has been proven that local, grassroots organizations make a difference and support every woman’s voice, not just the popular ones. We need a lot. We need operating costs just so we can have a place and the capacity to do the work and hire employees. We need program funding so that we can help the women and girls we serve. But most of all, we as an organization and as women who have given up everything to do this work with no big bank account to back us up, we need to be sustained. Without us, so many women and girls will fall through the cracks, never be heard and never get the help they need. This is the March Madness that comes every year and we always seem to be right back where we started from. BeaSister2aSister is making their own SDG. We will call it SDG 6.0 where we are committed no matter how difficult, to see every survivor we work with be self sustainable, fully independent and not seeking the spotlight but seeking life.

 

 

Of course we cannot do it alone. Help grassroots organizations live and donate. Become a sustainable donor of $20, $50 or $100 a month or you can visit us at http://www.beasister2asister.org and go to the Give Today page & click donate.

 

 

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Samantha Inesta

Founder/Executive

BeaSister2aSister

 

Weapons, Drugs & Forced Prostitution

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The three things that bring the most devastation to our families, our children and our society are weapons, drugs and forced prostitution. In the wake of the Florida School shootings, young people became galvanized and took to the streets and ended up at the capital in Tallahassee with an emotional cry for stricter gun laws. After watching seventeen of their friends, classmates and teachers get gunned down by a mentally unstable student who should have never been able to purchase a gun, they have had enough. Adults have let them down, society has let them down but most of all their government has severely let them down. There are a lot of movements happening creating the greatest paradigm shift this country has ever seen. This will be one of them.

There are many arguments surrounding the shooter(Nikolas Cruz), most of them are concerning mental illness and drugs. Scores of psychiatrists took to social media explaining that the root cause of all shootings were the prescription drugs that were given to patients with mental disorders. And while that may be part of the problem, it’s not always the whole issue. Again we see even with the Florida school shooter there was domestic abuse involved, depression and possibly some radicalization by a white supremacist group but really no mention of psychiatric drugs. After being shuffled around between different houses and finally landing in a permanent place, his depression worsened and his love of guns increased. Counseling was an option but Nikolas Cruz never made it. All of the signs were there but no one listened and everyone is trying to put together a variety of scenarios as to what caused all of this and prescription drugs seem to make the top of the list but were never part of the story. Instagram posts discussed the killings of animals and his host family didn’t find it an issue that he was depressed and had guns. I guess they thought he would just keep to himself.

Guns are easily purchased by people who intend to do harm in a way that fits their carnal need for revenge, blood lust and organized criminal activity. The same weapons that are purchased by disillusioned young people, mentally unstable people and legally registered gun owners are same ones purchased by a person or group that forces women and young girls into prostitution. The drugs are what keeps them compliant in their bondage. Conversely when the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School marched to the capital in Tallahassee they were told that a bill to declare pornography a public safety issue will take precedence over gun laws. It’s very telling that now of all times they are worried about this-especially since the President has a history with pornography that no one seems to have an issue with. They love their guns so much that they are willing to sign a bill that they would NEVER have signed before just to shut these students up.

So let’s tie this all together. When we look at the #MeToo movement we see groups of women from everywhere basically talking about the rape culture that has overcome-basically the world. The sub cultures include sexual harrassment, assault, abuse and exploitation. Not every woman has had this experience with a Hollywood elite where their weapon was their power and wealth. Some have experienced violent encounters where guns-purchased illegally-were used to keep them in place. The greatest exacerbater of the rape culture in our society is pornography. It is estimated that 79% of men between the ages of 18 and 30 watch porn on a monthly basis and 67% of men ages 31 to 49 view porn monthly as well. This creates more of an unstable environment for women. What it also does is keep up the demand in the world of sex trafficking. In order to keep the supply up traffickers must “find” young women that meet the standards of the sex buyer so money can be made. How does that happen? Guns. Drugs. Both illegal. The guns to break them down and cause fear and the drugs to give the buyer control. All three of these things can affect young people and destroy their lives. I’m not saying that with stricter gun laws there would be no trafficking or pornograhy-not by a long shot. what I am saying is declaring pornography a public safety issue is not enough, just focusing on getting people with mental disabilities help before they buy guns is not enough. This country allows the flow of mind altering drugs to take over so many peoples lives and even those activists haven’t gotten much satisfaction.

What we are seeing now is women, men and young people fed up. The pot has finally boiled over and it has spilled out cries for justice and redemption. It has awakened the spirits of revolution’s past and brought it front and center to the modern world. A new fight is at hand and the young people are leading the way, all different races and cultures like a beautiful rainbow of peaceful activism. They should now that they are not the only generation that has gotten hateful push back from the government but they should also know to keep going until you change happens. This is undoubtedly a new era, one that will expose all the racism, misogyny and violence this country has been forcing down everyone’s throat.  It’s like the old Bob Dylan song “Times they are a changin”.

 

BeaSister2aSister is 501(3) non profit that helps survivors of Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence, Abuse and Exploitation become self sustainable and free from programs and agencies that keep in interdependence.

Would you please take a moment and visit our site @ http://www.beasister2asister.org and consider donating to help us to help survivors find their true independence. Just go to Give Today and donate an amount of your choice, or consider being a monthly donor of $25, $50, or $100. For more information please email: info@beasister2asister.org

 

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Samantha Inesta

Founder/Executive Director

BeaSister2aSister